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Programming can be a very personal and creative process. However, for most of us, without some kind of guideline, we tend to find ourselves drifting from one coding style to another. This is natural, since we are attempting to get the job done. We are probably not thinking about how our code will appear to others (or even ourselves) at sometime in the future when a modification is required.

Therefore, we have established this document as an aid to give us a set of rules and guidelines that will make our code easier to read and maintain, and in fact, easier to write in the first place. While it may seem overwhelming at first, once you sit down and familiarize yourself with theses standards, you will soon find that it becomes very easy to follow them. Remember when you first learned to program. It seemed to take up all your attention just to remember the syntax rules. But now you probably do not even think about it. Standards are the same way. Once you get used to them, they don't even seem to exist.

Standards have to be simple. If there are so many rules that you always need a reference card, then you are never going to use them. On the other hand if they are too simple, you might as well not have them at all.

The sign of a good standard is that it facilitates your work - not get in the way of your work. In establishing this document, we strive to reach a reasonable balance. However, we should return to these standards from time to time and re-evaluate them - casting out what doesn't work for us and adding items to correct problem areas.

Within the document, when we refer to standards we are talking about things we are required to do. Guidelines are things that we should do to improve our code and program execution and to improve the maintainability of our systems

Benefits of Having Standards

Less decisions to make

Having guidelines to follow means that there are some decisions that you not have to make. You also do not have to justify, argue and defend every decision you make. You may not agree with every part of the standard, but you will be surprised how soon you will be comfortable with the standards.

Easier Maintenance

Maintenance programming becomes easier since the code is easier to read and modify.

Easier to Train

With standard guidelines, it is easy to set up a training program. New hires can be trained in a day or two to conform to UNF standards.